‘Batter up’ this 4th of JulyA pair of baseball coaches will lead this year’s Fourth of July Parade in Superior. Fittingly, the grand marshals will be surrounded by members of their team.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A pair of baseball coaches will lead this year’s Fourth of July Parade in Superior. Fittingly, the grand marshals will be surrounded by members of their team.
“We’re the two biggest kids out there,” said Bud Brand, who has been coaching youth baseball for 27 years. His fellow coach, George Paddock, has been passing on his love of the game for 45 years. The two have also coached Rookie Basketball Association basketball and Special Olympics.
“We do it for the love of the kids,” Paddock said.
The theme for the annual celebration is “Fourth of July, Baseball and Apple Pie.”
“We’re still looking for the apple pie part,” said Nell Loughren, a member of the Citizens Fourth of July Planning and Parade Committee. But in keeping with the baseball theme the committee is pitching a new addition to the festivities, the First Annual Showcase of Youth Baseball. The Superior Youth Organization baseball game, featuring 9 and 10 year old players, will take place from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Hayes Court Complex right after the parade. It isn’t the first time the idea of a July 4 baseball game has been lofted in Superior, according to Brand. Rain shut down two previous attempts in 1991 and the early 2000s.
“We’re hoping the third time is the lucky charm,” Brand said.
He and Paddock have been coaching baseball together for more than 20 years. It’s not about winning or losing, they said, but how you play the game.
“I want (the kids) to know they’re important,” Paddock said. When he walks into the dugout he emphasizes that they’re going to go out and have fun. The coaches make sure players of all abilities get time on the field.
“You don’t get any better sitting on the bench,” Brand said.
Paddock said he hopes to run into a lot of his former players during the game, some of whom may be as old as 50 by now. He encouraged everyone to stop by and cheer on the kids.
“It’s a national pastime,” Brand said.
Perhaps the game will spark more interest in baseball and prompt more kids to play, Loughren said.
The two grand marshals were picked, she said, because they represent the men and women involved in sports who provide positive role models for youth.
Superior’s annual 4th of July festivities are enjoyed by about 10,000 people each year, according to committee co-chairman Dave Stannard.
“It’s going to be a jam-packed day,” Loughren said.
This year’s festivities kick off with the parade from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bands, cars, floats and more will wind their way from Superior High School down North 28th Street to Hammond Avenue, ending at Superior Middle School. Stannard said 42 entrants have already signed up for the parade, and he expects that number to more than double. There is no cost to enter, and entries will be taken until the last day. When the parade ends at 1 p.m., the Superior Singers will perform at Heritage Park.
Tower Avenue reconstruction work threw a curve ball at the committee this year. The annual car show, always held along Tower Avenue, will move to Superior’s East End. It will run from 3-7 p.m. along East Fifth Street and feature music from “The Bugs.”
Fireworks will be shot off at dusk from the Superior Bong Airport.
A core group of volunteers works year-round on the celebration. Donations from individuals and businesses pay for all the fun; there is no cost or admission for any of the day’s events. But volunteers are needed to help make the day a success. Anyone interested in volunteering can stop by planning meetings at 6 p.m. June 19 and 26 at Vintage Italian Pizza. More information is available on the group’s website, http://superior4thjuly.com/ or by calling 715-394-9673.